Review: 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid

The Toyota Corolla Cross is a four-door hatchback with all-wheel drive as standard. It sits a little higher and has a more rugged look when compared to the Corolla sedan. This year, it sees a handful of small upgrades. These include an upgraded touchscreen, the next-generation Toyota Safety Sense system, and wireless connections for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Also new this year is this new hybrid model.

Toyota introduced the Corolla Cross in 2022 as an alternative to its long-running Corolla sedan. The two are related in name only with little else in common, but the idea behind the Corolla Cross is to offer a compact, low-priced crossover-like hatchback to compete with similar-sized crossover-SUVs on the market such as the Subaru Impreza.

The 2023 Corolla Cross Hybrid has an estimated MPG rating of 42 mpg combined. In the real world, we were pretty close to that after a long road trip in the car. Over 500 miles of driving resulted in 40.5 mpg in all, which is very good considering our high altitude and high highway speeds here in Wyoming. Inclement weather didn’t help. Overall, a great MPG result we think.

The Corolla Cross fills the gap between the smaller C-HR and the larger RAV4. The hybrid model improves on the standard gasoline version by adding Toyota’s well-vetted and balanced hybrid drivetrain. And all-wheel drive as standard.

Under the hood of the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is a four-cylinder engine and hybrid system that produces 196 horsepower. It’s identical to the system used in the 2023 Prius model. An added motor powers the rear axle to make the Corolla Cross Hybrid an AWD.

During our time with the Corolla Cross Hybrid, we found that this powertrain setup is pretty good for the car. It’s not a speedster, by any means, but it is not a slouch either. It feels decent enough in most driving situations that it will be considered confident by most drivers. Even in hard rain and questionable weather, we found it sure-footed.

Where the Corolla Cross Hybrid struggles is in getting up to highway speeds, which takes a little time, and when the pedal is punched to get around someone to pass. In both cases, it will take its time and isn’t as responsive as one might hope. Steering and handling are good, though, with enough road feel to stay connected to the car while driving.

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The 2023 Corolla Cross Hybrid is a low-cost vehicle with a starting price of $27,970 plus delivery. That’s reflected in the car’s interior, which is pretty low rent by anyone’s standards. It’s comfortable enough and comes equipped with some technology, but it’s also loud on the highway and uses a lot of cheap-feeling materials. The second row of seating is alright for average-sized folks, provided the people up front aren’t too tall. And cargo space is large for the car’s size.

As with most Toyota vehicles, the Corolla Cross Hybrid includes a full suite of advanced safety systems and added technologies. The infotainment system has been upgraded for 2023 with a new and improved interface via a new Google system. Android Auto or Apple CarPlay are more useful, though, and most will be glad they’re built in. Toyota is moving towards natural language prompts for its infotainment, but it’s still a bit clunky in this car. Eventual improvements will happen and this first step is a good one.

For the price being paid and the things included, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross is a great value.

This review originally published on CarNewsCafe.com.